Dear Distributed Computing Community,

we would like to rekindle the discussion on possible changes in the format of PODC and DISC. We will bring this topic up at the PODC business meeting, so please be there if you would like to participate. The PODC Zulip forum can serve as a platform for having some preliminary disucssion already beforehand.

As a reminder, below are the results of the survey conducted end of last year. Participation has been high enough to consider this a fairly representative snapshot of opinions at the time, but please bear in mind that the pandemic might have affected many participants' view on the subject.

Best,
Christoph, Jukka, and Stefan

--------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Distributed Computing Community,

there have been 117 responses to the conference model survey. With this turnout I believe that we get a solid picture of the community's current stance. You can browse the results here:
https://forms.gle/7FuEJX6TmcUcHg6a9

I'll summarize what I believe to be the salient points.

1. A strong majority wants to move to multiple deadlines per year: 61.5% voted for doing this with both PODC and DISC, and another 21.5% want to at least try this out with one of the conferences. Only 10.3% are against.

Many comments pointed to other conferences that implemented this model successfully. It should also be noted that - as comments highlighted - having 3 deadlines is not a magic number; 4, having 4 between PODC and DISC together, of even 12 are all valid options. I simply chose one possibility to keep things tractable.

2. There is a less overwhelming, but still very clear majority in favor of transitioning the conferences to being journals (58,1% for, one quarter against).

=> I suggest that the steering committees propose concrete ways of how the above two points could be implemented. If there are several viable options, querying the community in the same way as done here might be a good option.


From my point of view, it is worth asking whether we should still consider PODC and DISC as separate conferences/journals after the corresponding changes. I don't see any difference in terms of topics between the two, and I don't see a substantial gap in quality within recent years (if there is any). However, as the responses to the other questions suggest, opinions are likely to be much more divided on this issue and dependent on implementation.

3. There's no clear picture regarding colocation. 44.5% are against colocating PODC and DISC, while 47% are in favor - and for many of these the details matter.

4. There's some tendency to change how conference time is used (under the assumption that the submission model is changed), but this was also the point where most respondents didn't want any change or didn't know/didn't care (about one quarter each). The only concrete change that has clear support is having more keynote talks.

=> While there's substantial support in favor of deviating from the current model on these points, there are also significant concerns, and on both points the specific implementation matters a lot. This is also reflected by diverse individual comments.

I propose to have a more detailed discussion within the community, especially on colocation (where less than 10% didn't care!), once the first two points have been decided on. This will narrow down the solution space and enable consideration of more concrete options.

Best,
Christoph